SOAR-New England Fundraiser a Success

ARLINGTON, Mass.— The Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF) was the setting on Nov. 6 for the second annual Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) New England chapter Reception and Silent Auction. Around 60 guests mingled over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while cultural music played lightly in the background.

SOAR President Michael Hagopian spoke briefly about the history of the organization, a five-year-old 501(c)3 non-profit founded by George and Erika Yacoubian, Jr. of Philadelphia after the adoption of their daughter from Armenia. Board members Marina Arakelian and Laura Michael also shared information and insight regarding their recent visits to several of Armenia’s orphanages.

Guests had the opportunity to participate in several raffles and a silent auction that included paintings, hand-painted scarves, and handmade greeting cards—all masterpieces created by the children of the Zadik Orphanage in Yerevan. Other prizes ranged from Boston Red Sox tickets to diamond jewelry to restaurant gift cards, and all items were donated by individuals and local businesses. The annual New England fundraiser is complimentary and SOAR relies a great deal on the generosity of its donors.

SOAR has reported that 100 percent of the event’s proceeds from the raffle, silent auction, and attendees’ financial contributions are already being distributed to two orphanages in Armenia. One recipient is Vardashen, an orphanage and boarding school in Yerevan. Located in central Armenia, Vardashen is the home of approximately 80 children who exhibit “socially dangerous behavior” between the ages of 6 and 18. The director of Vardashen is Larisa Sargsyan. Vardashen is in need of new beds, and SOAR-New England will be providing funding for this, while also contributing to the Hadug Tibi (also known as Mari Izmirlyan) Orphanage. Hadug Tibi is a semi-private orphanage also located in Yerevan. Hadug Tibi cares for approximately 85 children between 7 months and 8 years old. The director of the Hadug Tibi Orphanage is Hasmig Mgdrtchyan.

After two successful events in the Boston area, SOAR-New England will host their first fundraiser in Providence in spring 2011. Further details will be published in the Armenian Weekly Calendar shortly after the New Year.

The New England chapter, SOAR’s third chapter, became part of the SOAR family in February 2009. It encompasses all six New England states and includes significant Armenian populations in Boston and Providence. Two of SOAR-New England’s Board members have adopted children from Armenia and several Board members have visited orphanages, giving the chapter significant insight into the orphanages and their short- and long-term needs. The New England Board of Directors is comprised of President Michael Hagopian, Vice President Alene Kailian Schreiner, Secretary Adam Schreiner, Treasurer Michelle Papazian, and Board Members Marina Arakelian, Amy Croot, Svetlana Javakhyan, John Khatcherian, Laura Michael, Richard Simonian, and Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte.

For more information about SOAR and how to get involved, visit, email [email protected], or find SOAR-New England on Facebook.

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